6 Ways Language Learners Can Enhance Reading Comprehension

One of the core assessment areas in the IELTS test is academic reading. The section consists of 40 questions that assess a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for detail, figuring out the logical argument, pointing out a writer’s opinion, attitude and purpose among other abilities. All these skills point to one major component, reading comprehension.

Reading comprehension is about thinking as you read. It is the most complex but also the most essential aspect of reading. English learners should strive to enhance their reading comprehension. Signing up for IELTS classes is a great way to enhance your reading comprehension skills. Here’s what you will learn in IELTS classes.

1. How to Think Before Reading and Planning Ahead

The best IELTS classes have one thing in common and that is, tons of reading homework. These assignments are often accompanied by questions to test your comprehension. The tutor will encourage you to interact with the questions before you begin to read the text so that you can think before reading.

Interacting with the questions will help you anticipate where to focus. Also, it will help you formulate your questions before you begin reading so that you can understand better. It also allows you to plan and read more effectively.

2. How to Set Goals

The main purpose of the IELTS classes is to help you get an excellent grade during the exams. In other words, the objective is to answer the questions correctly. However, looking at the bigger picture is essential. Ultimately, you must know how to formulate your own reading goals. Goal setting is vital because it helps us to focus attention on specific parts of the text.  Before you start reading, students are encouraged to read the questions and the book’s questions. This will help you to understand when to concentrate on the text and when you can just skim it.

In other words, thinking before reading would encourage them to be analytical rather than trying to understand each sentence. Before they start reading, the questions may also assist them to formulate their own goals. For instance, if you are reading a text about World War II, you could give yourself a goal such as, “I want to understand why the war began.”

3. How to Think as You Read

As we mentioned, comprehension is about thinking as you read. It is one of the most important skills you’ll learn in an IELTS class and learners will come to understand that their reading comprehension will most likely improve when they stop reading. Students should think while they are reading instead of reading continuously. When puzzled, they will be advised to pause each time they have a question or thought about what they’ve just read.

Teaching students to pause and think will lead them to re-read what they have just read or look for the answers in the content they have not yet read. By doing this, you can digest the material better and get the answers to your goals.

4. Taking Notes

One of the best ways to foster memory is by taking notes. Taking notes causes us to regurgitate an idea in the text, process it to what we understand, and write short notes. The tutor will coach you on this skill during IELTS classes by encouraging you to stop reading whenever they come across an important fact in a text, highlight it and discuss it.

5. How to Visualize

Another powerful way to foster memory is by creating mental images. Visualizing an event, setting or character in a text fosters vivid memory to some learners. This enhances their comprehension tremendously. A photo of the character, or artwork that portrays an event set up goes a long way in facilitating comprehension.

6. Keep Practicing

You can summarize all these tips in a single word — practice. Students can only improve their reading comprehension by learning how to ask and answer questions while reading, writing notes, goal setting, writing overviews of what they’ve read and more.

The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about buying assessment books as the tutors of IELTS classes often give lots of reading assignments. This is so that you can keep practicing the above techniques. Improving comprehension is gradual and it takes loads of hard work but, it is definitely worth the sweat.


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